A travel love story

Chris recently surprised me with a little gift. I knew he was working on a video but I didn’t know just how much I was going to fall in love with it. This video is a sweet ode to our relationship but there’s a little twist at the end. Let’s just say that it left me in tears at the end.

I want to share this little piece of our lives with you. Take a peek at our love story below.

Babymoon 2.0: Maui edition

We’ve continued to live it up this pregnancy and with a cousin’s wedding taking place on Oahu, we needed no other excuse to visit one of our favorite destinations.

Chris and I have strong ties to the islands. I was born on Oahu and both of my parents hail from the isle. Since dating Chris, we strive to make it back to Hawaii at least twice a year. So far, so good.

This trip, we opted to spend three nights on Maui at our beloved Grand Wailea Resort. We purposefully left our schedule wide open so that we could sleep in if we wanted and ensure ample time at the beach and waterpark.

Maui babymoon

We spent our mornings walking along the beach and heading to one of our favorite coffee shops. The island was positively buzzing and it was the busiest we had ever seen it. Due to the holiday weekend, Valentine’s day, and the imminent Eddie Aikau surfing competition, it seemed like everyone decided to visit Hawaii at the same time we did.

Renting a car was almost the biggest expense of our trip. Instead of renting near the airport, we found it significantly cheaper (we’re talking hundreds of dollars saved) to arrange our rental out of Kihei. Not only did we save a ton of money, we were also upgraded to a jeep, one of our favorite vehicles to take around the island.

Things to do on a Maui babymoon

Three days on Maui was the perfect amount of time to soak up some rays and frolic along the beach before headed to Oahu. One of the reasons why we love staying at the Grand Wailea is its amazing waterpark–we’re talking lazy rivers, multiple waterslides, grottos, and swim-up bars. I think we spent almost every afternoon at the park, Chris in the water and me attempting to catch some sun on the lounge chairs.

We did schedule one important activity on Maui and that was our amazing Flytographer photo shoot with the talented Naomi. We hit Baldwin Beach in Paia right before sunset to capture some of the most incredible photos. I seriously cannot recommend Flytographer enough. Priceless photos are the perfect souvenir for any trip.

Oahu can feel like a second home to us and as soon as we arrived we fell into our usual routine. We usually stay with my grandma when we visit. My uncle and aunt reside there as well with Kalena, their little shitzu fur baby. And because of the wedding, my mom had flown in to stay as well. A packed house meant nights full of belly laughter and delicious local food.

Babymoon on Oahu

Chris and I hit our favorite spots on the island. We headed to the North Shore and stopped for shave ice at Matsumoto’s, stuffed ourselves with guava chiffon pancakes at Cinnamon’s (the best pancakes on the planet), took in the beauty of Byodo-In Temple, and lounged on the white sand beaches of Lanikai.

It was so nice to be able to travel at our own pace and not feel pressured to film or photograph our adventures (although Chris really enjoyed playing around with our new 360 camera). I particularly enjoyed soaking up the extra Vitamin D and eating all the local foods that I had been craving.

For us, a Hawaiian babymoon made the most sense and I hope that our little guy ends up loving the islands just as much as we do.

Taking the baby bump on a National Park babymoon

I know that expecting parents seem to be on the fence about babymoons. What is a babymoon, you ask? It’s essentially a last-hurrah vacation that you and your significant other take before the baby arrives.

I don’t know why it’s called a babymoon as it’s actually nothing like a honeymoon. I would consider it to be more like a pre-baby bachelor party. In my opinion, a babymoon is a vacation that you take to enjoy two things before the arrival of baby: 1.) precious alone time with your significant other and 2.) sleeeeep. I didn’t need much convincing to plan a couple of babymoons as soon as I found out we were expecting.

Our job as freelance travel writers afford us many opportunities and one of the most recent of these would be our week-long road trip in Arizona. We were given six days to explore Sedona and the Grand Canyon. While we would normally attempt to cram in as much sightseeing as possible and choose the most budget-friendly sleeping option, we decided to turn this trip into a makeshift babymoon and splurge a little.

Spoiler alert: it was lovely.

Planning our National Parks road trip. Doughnuts were obviously in order.
Planning our National Parks road trip. Doughnuts were obviously in order.

At 24 weeks pregnant, we decided to take our time and enjoy Sedona before making our way to the Grand Canyon. Being at the end of my second trimester, I still had a fair amount of energy but knew that I needed to get a full night’s sleep. This meant allowing time for me to sleep in before exploring every morning.

I woke up feeling refreshed and ready for what the day ahead of us held. With fresh snow on the ground, we decided to forgo any long, strenuous hikes and opted for jaw-dropping vantage points.

A light hike to this gorgous viewpoint of Sedona.
A light hike to this gorgous viewpoint of Sedona.

We spent two nights in Sedona and made sure to explore as much as possible. Neither of us were prepared for the sheer beauty of the area. We also had no idea how high in elevation it was. I found myself huffing and puffing just to reach the peak of the smallest hikes.

Happily babymooning in Sedona
Happily babymooning in Sedona
Chapel of the Cross was one of our favorite stops in Sedona
Chapel of Holy Cross was one of our favorite stops in Sedona

After our two days in Sedona, we hit the road and headed north to the Grand Canyon. We stopped in Flagstaff for a healthy lunch and rolled into Grand Canyon National Park in the early afternoon. I had only been to the Grand Canyon once before and it was in August. I remembered the stifling heat and didn’t realize just how cold it got in the winter months. Luckily, a few of my warm jackets still fit around the baby bump.

Cradling the bump at the top of Bright Angel Trail
Cradling the bump at the top of Bright Angel Trail

Due to the recent snowfall, cramp ons were highly suggested for most of the nearby hikes. We resigned to walking long the canyon’s edge and reminiscing about our last visit where we hiked the 12-miles to Bright Angel lookout and back.

The Grand Canyon holds a special place in my heart. It’s one of my father’s favorite locations in the world. In fact, it’s where he ran off to shortly before he married my mother. Needing time to think and reflect, he left Hawaii (without telling anyone!) for the Grand Canyon where he spent a few days in solitude. Luckily, he found whatever peace he was looking for, returned to Hawaii, and has been happily married to my mother for 40 years.

The Grand Canyon is where my dad goes when he needs to get away from it all and spend some much needed time enjoying the sheer beauty of nature. He’s passed his love for the canyon on to me and I hope to do the same to our little one.

We caught this stunning Grand Canyon sunrise on one of our early morning drives.
We caught this stunning Grand Canyon sunrise on one of our early morning drives.

Seeing as there wasn’t a ton of hiking to be done at the Grand Canyon, we planned a day trip to visit one of the places we’ve had on our bucket list for years, Antelope Canyon.

I had first seen a photo from Antelope Canyon a few years ago. I remember the beams of light streaming through the earth red walls of the canyon. The photos were almost other worldly and I knew I had to visit as soon as the opportunity arose.

Exploring Antelope Canyon
Exploring Antelope Canyon
The gorgeous colors of lower Antelope Canyon
The gorgeous colors of lower Antelope Canyon

We booked a day tour of the canyon and the surrounding town of Page through Expedia and met up with our guide (and the rest of our group) an hours drive from the Grand Canyon.

Upon arrival to lower Antelope Canyon, we were set up with our Navajo guide who lead us down into the canyon. We spent an hour strolling through the endless waves of the canyon, taking photos along the way. Our guide was informative and full of advice on how to best capture the canyon in all its glory. It was by far one of my favorite stops on our trip.

Overall, our 6 days in Arizona were magical. It was the perfect amount of time to explore before becoming overwhelmed and fatigued. I can’t believe that the next time we return to the Grand Canyon we’ll probably have my dad and my son in tow.

Life lately.

November and December have come and gone and to say that the last two months have been a whirlwind would be a complete understatement. We’ve encountered and accomplished incredible feats since my last post. The most important being the fact that I am now 19 weeks pregnant-nearly halfway done!

Our Little Arrow seems to be doing well. Just in the past few days I have started to feel little kicks and movements. It seems that the little one is especially active in the mornings and at night. Dad has yet to feel anything from the outside but I’m sure those will come in the next few weeks.

This baby is already quite the adventurer. Not only has our little one technically been to Spain and New York but we just returned from almost a month in Taiwan (with brief stops in South Korea). I think baby is going to LOVE Chinese food.

Speaking of Taiwan, our time there was incredible. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better trip. We were in the country to film three episodes of a new TLC show called Fun Taiwan Adventurists. The premise of the show is to explore Taiwan with our host, Janet Hsieh along with two other blogging companions.

As an introvert, spending three and half weeks traveling with complete strangers could have been a recipe for disaster (including multiple emotional and mental breakdowns) but our fellow cast and crew were so down to earth, hilarious, and sweet that by the end of our time, I was heartbroken to leave them.

With our host, Janet and our two fellow bloggers, Charles and Haleigh.
With our host, Janet and our two fellow bloggers, Charles and Haleigh.

Some of my favorite memories from our time in Taiwan came from our long and winding car rides through the mountains where we talked about everything from life goals to worst bathroom stories. Let’s just say that we became really close.

So much fun and laughter with this crew!
So much fun and laughter with this crew!

I was worried that the morning sickness and intense nausea from my first trimester was going to carry into my second, but let me tell you, I’ve been feeling like a million bucks! The second trimester has been awesome and I feel like a human being again, albeit a slightly chubbier one.

I’ll have more on our time in Taiwan in the next few weeks. There’s so much to cover! We also find our whether Little Arrow is a boy or a girl later this week. There’s a very low key party in the works and I’ll be sure to post as soon as we find out. It’ll be nice to be able to say “he” or “she” instead of “it”.

New York

As a little birthday treat, the mister decided that we should take a trip to New York to visit our good friends that we hadn’t seen in almost a year. We didn’t have a ton of time but we finally agreed that five days in the city would do us some good. And honestly, it was just what we needed.

Our only two goals were to see our friends and eat good food. Mission accomplished. We managed to eat delicious Italian food at Frank, demolish Doughnut Plant’s PB&J doughnut, indulge in a giant scoop at Big Gay Ice Cream, eat way too many fries at The Grange, buy out all the cookies at the Momofuku Milk Bar, and top it off with spicy ramen and buns at the Momofuku Noodle Bar.

Doughnut Plant's glorious PB&J doughnut
Doughnut Plant’s glorious PB&J doughnut

Eating aside, we were able to spend quality time with the people we love. We even met up with another travel blogger, Dani, who we had previously seen in Finland and Sri Lanka as well as one of our best friends, Ashley who was thrilled (and hilariously shocked) when we told her of the new adventurer on the way.

This trip–albeit short–was exactly what we needed. Here’s to hoping we make it back once more before the baby arrives.

visiting NYC while pregnant

Hawaii.

OK, so I know that it’s been over three months since I’ve last posted. To be honest, things have been crazy and I’ve neglected this tiny blog of mine.

I won’t let this happen again. I’m vowing to post at least once a week from here on out. Here’s hoping that I can actually stick to it.

As a little proof to the crazy life we’re been living, here’s a few snapshots courtesy of our instagram.

Our whirlwind days of travel started with over two weeks spent in Hawaii. We visited family and friends on Oahu and then made way for Maui where we had our annual Expedia Viewfinder summit. We even had spare time to spend a day on Lana’i and absolutely loved it.

There’s just something about the islands that calls to my heart. Both of my parents were raised on Oah’u and even though my dad is a verified haole boy, he still speaks pidgin more often than anyone else in my family.  The one thing I’ve really enjoyed is sharing my Hawaiian culture with the mister. He’s adapted to it quickly and especially likes the food.

Third time’s the charm. Chris finally got to snorkel in Hanauma Bay.   A photo posted by Tawny and Chris (@captainandclark) on

We’re back on Oahu!!! First things first, coffee. We even bought some to take home- a cowboy blend 😍 A photo posted by Tawny and Chris (@captainandclark) on

Jumping for joy at the Kahanu Garden #TeamHana #PictureMaui A photo posted by Tawny and Chris (@captainandclark) on

Our time on Maui with the Expedia Viewfinder crew was invaluable to us. To spend seven whole days with fellow travel writers that we admire and adore was paradise. Between meetings, we fit in plenty of time to paddle board, sip mai tais, and exchange ideas for the future of the program.

Red sand beaches of Hana. We dig them. #PictureMaui #TeamHana A photo posted by Tawny and Chris (@captainandclark) on

Gorgeous rainbow trees on the road to Hana! #PictureMaui #TeamHana A photo posted by Tawny and Chris (@captainandclark) on

This is the OG at @monkeypodkitchen. It’s got coconut, lime, and dreams in it. #foodpornoff #picturemaui A photo posted by Tawny and Chris (@captainandclark) on

 And then there was Lana’i. This is an island that I knew very little about. We only had the day to explore but we visited the Four Season for one of their beautiful Loco Mocos, drove to Shipwreck Beach, and stopped at the local cat sanctuary. Does anyone need a feline friend with a ton of aloha? Look no further.

Today’s breakfast is coming to you from the beautiful @FSLanai. Fresh fruit juice and a view. #seeLanai   A photo posted by Tawny and Chris (@captainandclark) on

Hawaii is one of those places that I’ll always carry with me in my heart. My hope is that one day I’ll be able to share the magic of the islands with my future children. Until then, the mister and I will soak up the sun, surf, and sand together.

DRD4-7r

The wanderlust gene.

A recent article on Elite Daily shed light on the findings of a particular gene that correlates with increased levels of curiosity and restlessness. It goes on to state that individuals that carry this genetic information typically share one common theme: a history of traveling.

The further I dove into the topic, the more it all started making sense. I’ve had this innate love of travel for as long as I can remember. And while I didn’t even leave the country until I was 18, I was addicted to discovering new places and immersing myself in different cultures, even if it only meant visiting a new state.

The Wanderlust gene hawaii

Travel ignites a fire within me. I feel like my senses are heightened when I travel- colors are brighter, food tastes better, I am awakened to exotic smells, everything has a more intense texture. It’s like I have awoken from a deep slumber and I am slowly shaking the grogginess of sleep.

I know that travel isn’t for everyone. It’s unrealistic to think that people get the same high that I do from travel. That being said, I have to urge everyone to at least sample it at some point. Just to see if it’s for you or not. And while I’m aware that not everyone has the means to travel, there are so many ways that you can explore this beautiful world without spending a ton of money.

wanderlust gene peru

I truly believe that travel is the one thing you buy that makes you richer. I know it sounds corny, but it’s so true. I become a better person when I travel. Apathy turns to empathy, history comes alive, and I become more aware of what is happening in this world. I’ve had to work on my patience and practice the art of letting things go. I have learned that some things (read: many things) are out of my control and I’ve had to become flexible.

Travel can also be ugly. It can be dirty and stressful and tiring and gross. You’ll meet nasty people. They’re all over the world. You’ll get sick. You’ll miss a plane or a bus. You might even do what I did and book an apartment rental for a whole day after you arrive in the city and you’ll be stuck wandering around Paris at 1AM in a snowstorm with all of your belongings on your back and zero cash to make a phone call.

the wanderlust gene India

But the wonderful news is that the number of good people in the world greatly outnumber the bad. You’ll recover from your illness and even learn remedies from different cultures. You’ll be rebooked on a different flight where you’ll end up sitting next to your childhood travel idol. You’ll meet friends on your travels that happen to live in Paris and answer their Facebook messages at 1AM and give up their own bed for you in their apartment until you can check-in for your rental.

Travel is beautiful. It’s magical. There’s nothing else like it out there. Nothing that’s legal, at least.

One doesn’t need to posses the wanderlust gene to appreciate the joys of traveling. One just needs the courage to book the ticket and prepare themselves for the grand adventure that awaits.

 

Travel with me to: Iceland

I don’t know what I was thinking when I packed for Iceland. I had this weird notion that since it was the end of March, it would be somewhat warm. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Luckily, I had packed enough cold weather clothes to last me the week we were there.

If there’s one thing I learned about Iceland it’s that the weather can (and will) change at the drop of a hat. Pack layers and an extreme sense of adventure. The country gives back in so many ways.

Iceland's notorious Blue Lagoon
Iceland’s notorious Blue Lagoon
Exfoliating.  Tawny Clark
Exfoliating.

All of the hype about the Blue Lagoon? It’s totally true. The place is magical. I would recommend a trip to the Blue Lagoon as soon as you’re off the plane. It’s a great way to relax and fight off jetlag. I could have spent all day soaking in the beautiful warm waters, but I was anxious to get out and explore more of the country.

Reykjavik Iceland is beautiful
Reykjavik’s Hallgrímskirkja church

 

The colorful waterfront
The colorful waterfront

We spent a day in Reyjkavik to collect ourselves before stuffing ourselves in our Sixt rental car and taking off the explore more of the countryside.

With only a week in Iceland, we decided to head northeast and see as much as possible. Spoiler alert: it’s beautiful. Everywhere in Iceland is beautiful. It seemed like my jaw was dropping with every corner.

The landscape seemed other worldly. I didn’t know so much beauty could fit on just one island.

Iceland's iceberg beach
Jökulsárlón iceberg lagoon
Clear skies following an epic snowstorm
Clear skies following an epic snowstorm
Beauty around every turn
Beauty around every turn
Getting to know the locals.
Getting to know the locals.
Exploring hidden caves and waterfalls.
Exploring hidden caves and waterfalls.

I would love to revisit Iceland in a new season. While I loved spring, it would be great to go back in either the winter or the summer. I might just have to do both. We missed the Northern Lights while we were there and it’s a bucket list item that I still need to cross off.

The magic of Iceland is something I miss everyday.

Travel with me to: Costa Brava

The region of Costa Brava, Spain looks like it belongs in a fairytale. Chris and I had the sheer pleasure of spending two weeks in the area alongside two of our closest friends. From lazy vineyard picnics to early morning hikes, a good time was had by all.

Travel to Costa Brava Courage and Wild
A whimsical picnic at the Terra Remota winery
Travel and lifestyle blog Courage and Wild
We could get used to the traditional Spanish siesta
A day on the water in Empordà Tawny Clark
A day on the water in Empordà
Dinners always involved deep conversations and lots of wine Tawny Staudinger Clark
Dinners always involved deep conversations and lots of wine
These are a few of my favorite things
These are a few of my favorite things
Adorable countryside homestays
Adorable countryside homestays

A few highlights were the private cooking class we had with iCookit (I finally learned how to master the Spanish omelette!), our early morning hot air balloon ride over the picturesque small towns of the region, and the many, many wine-fueled conversations about travel, love, and how to make the most out of this life. I can’t tell you the amount of times I cried on this trip. Many were from the sheer gratitude of having this experience with some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met.

I sincerely hope to make it back to Costa Brava. But if I never do, this trip was enough. My heart left full and my faith renewed.